Saturday, November 30, 2019


A simple image, after the surfeit of the past few days . . .

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

I got started Tuesday, roasting some turkey backs and then simmering them with onion and celery to make broth for  the dressings and the gravy...

making almond brittle to top the pumpkin pie...

 and pickled veg, aka giardiniera. 

On Wednesday, while John mopped and vacuumed, I sauteed leeks, celery and sausage for the dressing...

made sweet potato rolls . . .

 too large to be elegant but they sure are tasty...
 Baked but not browned -- that's for last minute.

I also made my grandmother's cranberry-pineapple-celery-pecan gelatin 'salad.'  I think John and I are the only ones who really love this but I make it anyway. It's my favorite thing to eat Thanksgiving night -- crunchy and cool and refreshing.

That's my Kindle --  while I chopped celery and did other tedious things, I listened to The Salmon of Doubt (a posthumous compilation of odds and ends from Douglas Adams.

Wednesday night, I made a pumpkin chiffon pie -- to be topped with whipped cream and that almond brittle.  

And I simmered the neck and giblets from the almost thawed turkey. More broth for gravy. And a little chopped liver/pate  to put out with the starters-- I'm probably the only fan of this and if there's some left, I like it on toast for breakfast.

These, along with the turkey, gravy, and dressing, are my part of the feast. Justin and Claui and her folks will be bringing sides and starters and, I think, another dessert. There will be nine of us, counting Josie. We should have plenty. 

I'll try to get some pics of Josie tomorrow, along with the feast.

Even in these perilous times, there is much to be thankful for. May all of you celebrating have a wonderful day -- without political discussions if they're likely to go badly. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

In Hoc Signo?

Just before a battle, the pagan emperor Constantine was said to have seen a cross in the sky along with words meaning, In this sign shall you conquer. He resolved to convert to Christianity and won the battle.

Yesterday morning, on the eve of my annual battle to get ready for Thanksgiving, I too saw a sign. It looked to me like a hexagram from the I Ching.

I looked it up -- six unbroken lines. 

A foundation for purpose
It is beneficial to persist. 

Well, okay then.  On to the grocery store and home to begin prepping for the big day...

Monday, November 25, 2019

An Ideal Nursery

I always loved the descriptions of nurseries in certain English books-- Mary Poppins, for example. The ideal nursery was a large, light-filled room, full of children's toys (a dappled grey rocking horse was a must) and special children's furniture. There might or might not be a crisp-starched nanny in attendance.

Alas, my boys were lucky to have a crib in our bedroom -- later, of course, they shared a bedroom filled with action figures and dinosaurs. 

I admit to severe envy of pregnant friends with an extra room as they set up their little nurseries, decided on color schemes, and installed cribs and changing tables and a rocking chair. But that passed and our boys turned out well, despite the lack of a nursery.

A few days ago, as I sat on my bed and watched Josie at play in the bedroom, I realized that at long last, I have a nursery -- lots of light, kid-sized furniture . . .

There's even a rocking horse.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades;
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look at time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence.
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Looking for the Cantrell Child -- Re-Post from 2009

Last Friday seemed like a good day to explore a graveyard. My brother was visiting from Alabama and I enlisted him to go with me to look for the Cantrell child's grave.

But first, some back story . . .

I posted a picture of the Walnut church cemetery a few weeks back and Nancy Meadows, the friend who so kindly shared her aunts' diaries with me, wrote to say that she remembered a playhouse with dolls in it built atop one of the graves in that cemetery.

Well, of course I wanted to know more and soon Nancy replied that it was the grave of a little girl -- a Cantrell.

Nancy said, "The family lived over on Straddle Top Mountain and there were a number of children (I believe that Jeter Cantrell is the last surviving child but could be wrong). The parents left the children alone to go to the store and the girl (who was 3-4 years old at the time) got out of the house and walked off with one of the family dogs. She was found frozen to death in the woods with the dog still beside her. My brother said that Daddy told him you could see the lanterns of people looking for her on Straddle Top Mountain. "

What a heart-breaking story!

Nancy is making inquiries to find out more. The play house is gone but I was hoping to find the grave so my brother and I wandered about, looking for Cantrells.

Some of the markers were illegible and some graves were marked only by rocks.

At least one gravestone was broken . . .

We never did find the Cantrell child's grave -- and I thought of those lanterns flickering on the slopes of Straddle Top Mountain as the searchers criss-crossed the dark slopes, calling the lost child's name.

And I thought of the sorrow that must have come with the morning light.

Ten years later--my brother is gone and I am still haunted by this story...

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